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NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW
THE CZAR'S SOLILOQUY.
BY MARK TWAIN.
After the Czar's morning bath it is his habit to meditate an hour
before dressing himself. — London Times Correspondence.
[Viewing himself in the pier-glass."] Naked, what am I? A
lank, skinny, spider-legged libel on the image of God! Look at
the waxwork head— the face, with the expression of a melon —
the projecting ears — the knotted elbows — the dished breast — the
knife-edged shins — and then the feet, all beads and joints and
bone-sprays, an imitation X-ray photograph! There is nothing
imperial about this, nothing imposing, impressive, nothing to in-
voke awe and reverence. Is it this that a hundred and forty
million Russians kiss the dust before and worship? Manifestly
not! No one could worship this spectacle, which is Me. Then
who is it, what is it, that they worship ? Privately, none knows
better than I: it is my clothes. Without my clothes I should be
as destitute of authority as any other naked person. Nobody could
tell me from a parson, a barber, a dude. Then who is the real
Emperor of Eussia ? My clothes. There is no other.
As Teufelsdrockh suggested, what would man be — what would
any man be — without his clothes? As soon as one stops and
thinks over that proposition, one realizes that without his clothes
a man would be nothing at all; that the clothes do not merely
vol. clxxx. — no. 580. 21
Copyright, 1905, by To Noete Amxeiojuj Rstjbw PirjSLimjwe Compost, All rights Reserved.
322 rff ® WORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
make the man, the clothes are the man; that without them he is a
cipher, a vacancy, a nobody, a nothing.
Titles — another artificiality — are a part of his clothing. They
and the dry-goods conceal the wearer's inferiority and make him
seem great and a wonder, when at bottom there is nothing re-
markable about him. They can move a nation to fall on its knees
and sincerely worship an Emperor who, without the clothes and
the title, would drop to the rank of the cobbler and be swallowed
up and lost sight of in the massed multitude of the inconsequen-
tials; an Emperor who, naked in a naked world, would get no
notice, excite no remark, and be heedlessly shouldered and jostled
like any other uncertified stranger, and perhaps offered a kopek to
carry somebody's gripsack; yet an Emperor who, by the sheer
might of those artificialities — clothes and a title — can get himself
worshipped as a deity by his people, and at his pleasure and unre-
buked can exile them, hunt them, harry them, destroy them, just
as he would with so many rats if the accident of birth had fur-
nished him a calling better suited to his capacities than emper-
ing. It is a stupendous force— that which resides in the all-
concealing cloak of clothes and title; they fill the onlooker with
awe ; they make him tremble ; yet he knows that every hereditary
regal dignity commemorates a usurpation, a power illegitimately
acquired, an authority conveyed and conferred by persons who
did not own it. For monarchs have been chosen and elected by
aristocracies only: a Nation has never elected one.
There is no power without clothes. It is the power that governs
the human race. Strip its chiefs to the skin, and no State could
be governed; naked officials could exercise no authority; they
would look (and be) like everybody else — commonplace, inconse-
quential. A policeman in plain clothes is one man; in his uni-
form he is ten. Clothes and title axe the most potent thing, the
most formidable influence, in the earth. They move the human
race to willing and spontaneous respect for the judge, the general,
the admiral, the bishop, the ambassador, the frivolous earl, the
idiot duke, the sultan, the king, the emperor. No great title is
efficient without clothes to support it. In naked tribes of savages
the kings wear some kind of rag or decoration which they make
sacred to themselves and allow no one else to wear. The king of
the great Fan tribe wears a bit of leopard-skin on his shoulder —
it is sacred to royalty; the rest of him is perfectly naked, With-
THE CZAR'S SOLILOQUY. 323
out his bit of leopard-skin to awe and impress the people, he
would not be able to keep his job.
[After a silence.] A curious invention, an unaccountable inven-
tion — the human race ! The swarming Eussian millions have for
centuries meekly allowed our Family to rob them, insult them,
trample them under foot, while they lived and suffered and died
with no purpose and no function but to make that Family com-
fortable ! These people are horses — just that — horses with clothes
and a religion. A horse with the strength of a hundred men will
let one man beat him, starve him, drive him ; the Eussian millions
allow a mere handful of soldiers to hold them in slavery — and
these very soldiers are their own sons and brothers !
A strange thing, when one considers it: to wit, the world ap-
plies to Czar and System the same moral axioms that have vogue
and acceptance in civilized countries ! Because, in civilized coun-
tries, it is wrong to remove oppressors otherwise than by process
of law, it is held that the same rule applies in Eussia, where there
is no such thing as law — except for our Family. Laws are merely
restraints — they have no other function. In civilized countries
they restrain all persons, and restrain them all alike, which is
fair and righteous ; but in Eussia such laws as exist make an ex-
ception — our Family. We do as we please; we have done as we
pleased for centuries. Our common trade has been crime, our
common pastime murder, our common beverage blood — the blood
of the nation. Upon our heads lie millions of murders. Yet the
pious moralist says it is a crime to assassinate us. We and our
uncles are a family of cobras set over a hundred and forty million
rabbits, whom we torture and murder and feed upon all our
days ; yet the moralist urges that to kill us is a crime, not a duty.
It is not for me to say it aloud, but to one on the inside — like
me — this is naively funny; on its face, illogical. Our Family is
above all law; there is no law that can reach us, restrain us, pro-
tect the people from us. Therefore, we are outlaws. Outlaws are
a proper mark for any one's bullet. Ah ! what could our Family
do without the moralist ? He has always been our stay, our sup-
port, our friend; to-day he is our only friend. Whenever there
has been dark talk of assassination, he has come forward and
saved us with his impressive maxim, "Forbear: nothing politic-
ally valuable was ever yet achieved by violence." He probably
believes it. It is because he has by him no child's book of world-
324 TEE ~B!ORTB AMERICAN REVIEW.
history to teach him that his maxim lacks the backing of statistics.
All thrones have been established by violence; no regal tyranny
has ever been overthrown except by violence; by violence my
fathers set up our throne; by murder, treachery, perjury, torture,
banishment and the prison they have held it for four centuries,
and by these same arts I hold it to-day. There is no Bomanoff of
learning and experience but would reverse the maxim and say:
"Nothing politically valuable was ever yet achieved except by
violence." The moralist realizes that to-day, for the first time in
our history, my throne is in real peril and the nation waking up
from its immemorial slave-lethargy; but he does not perceive that
four deeds of violence are the reason for it: the assassination of
the Finland Constitution by my hand; the slaughter, by revolu-
tionary assassins, of Bobrikoff and Plehve; and my massacre of
the unoffending innocents the other day. But the blood that
flows in my veins — blood informed, trained, educated by its grim
heredities, blood alert by its traditions, blood which has been to
school four hundred years in the veins of professional assassins,
my predecessors — it perceives, it understands ! Those four deeds
have set up a commotion in the inert and muddy deeps of the
national heart such as no moral suasion could have accomplished;
they have aroused hatred and hope in that long-atrophied heart;
and, little by little, slowly but surely, that feeling will steal into
every breast and possess it. In time, into even the soldier's
breast — fatal day, day of doom, that! .... By and by, there
will be results ! How little the academical moralist knows of the
tremendous moral force of massacre and assassination! ....
Indeed there are going to be results! The nation is in labor;
and by and by there will be a mighty birth — Patriotism ! To
put it in rude, plain, unpalatable words — true patriotism, real
patriotism : loyalty, not to a Family and a Fiction, but loyalty to
the Nation itself !
.... There are twenty-five million families in Eussia. There
is a man-child at every mother's knee. If these were twenty-five
million patriotic mothers, they would teach these man-children
daily, saying : " Kemember this, take it to heart, live by it, die
for it if necessary: that our patriotism is medieval, outworn,
obsolete; that the modern patriotism, the true patriotism, the only
rational patriotism, is loyalty to the Nation all the time, loyalty
to the Government when it deserves it." With twenty-five million
TME CZAR'S SOLILOQUY.
taught and trained patriots in the land a generation from now,
my successor would think twice before he would butcher a
thousand helpless poor petitioners humbly begging for his kind-
ness and justice, as I did the other day.
[Reflective pause.'] Well, perhaps I hare been affected by these
depressing newspaper-clippings which I found under my pillow.
I will read and ponder them again. . [BeoJs.]
POLISH WOMEN KNOUTED.
Reservists' Wives Treated with
Awful Brutality— At Least
Special Cable to The New Tobk Times.
BERLIN, Not. 27.— Infuriated
by the unwillingness of the Polish
troops to leave their wives and
children, the Russian authorities
at Kutno, a town on the Polish
frontier, have treated the people
in a manner almost incredibly
It is known that one woman has
been knouted to death- and that a
number of others have been in-
jured. Fifty persons have been
thrown into jail. Some of the
prisoners were tortured into un-
Details of the brutalities are
lacking, but it seems that the Cos-
sacks tore the reservists from the
arms of their wives and children
and then knouted the women who
followed their husbands into the
In cases where reservists could
not be found their wives were
dragged by their hair into the
streets and there beaten. The
chief official of the district and
the Colonel of a regiment are said
to have looked on while this was
A girl who had assisted in dis-
tributing Socialist tracts was
treated in an atrocious manner.
CZAR AS LORD'S ANOINTED.
People Spent Night in Prayer and
Fasting Before His Visit
London Times — New York Times.
•Copyright, 1904, The New Yobk TIMES
LONDON, July 27.— The London
Times's Russian correspondents
say the following extract from the
Petersburger Zeitung, describ-
ing the Czar's recent doings at
Novgorod, affords a typical in-
stance of the servile adulation
which the subjects of the Czar
deem it necessary to adopt:
" The blessing of the troops, who
knelt devoutly before his Majesty,
was a profoundly moving spectacle.
His Majesty held the sacred ikon
aloft and pronounced aloud a bless-
ing in his own name and that of
" Thousands wept with emotion
and spiritual ecstasy. Pupils of
girls' schools scattered roses in the
path of the monarch.
" People pressed up to the car-
riage in order to carry away an
indelible memory of the hallowed
features of the Lord's Anointed.
Many old people had spent the
night in prayer and fasting in order
to be worthy to game at his counte-
nance with pure, undefiled souls.
" The greatest enthusiasm pre-
vails at the happiness thus vouch-
safed to the people."
,26 TBE WORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
[Moved.] How shameful! .... how pitiful! .... And
how grotesque! .... To think — it was I that did those cruel
things. . . . There is no escaping the personal responsibility — it
was I that did them. And it was I that got that grovelling and
awe-smitten worship! I — this thing in the mirror — this carrot!
With one hand I flogged unoffending women to death and tor-
tured prisoners to unconsciousness; and with the other I held up
the fetish toward my fellow deity in heaven and called down His
blessing upon my adoring animals whom, and whose forbears,
with His holy approval, I and mine have been instructing in the
pains of hell for four lagging centuries. It is a picture! To
think that this thing in the mirror — this vegetable — is an accept-
ed deity to a mighty nation, an innumerable host, and nobody
laughs; and at the same time is a diligent and practical profes-
sional devil, and nobody marvels, nobody murmurs about incon-
gruities and inconsistencies ! Is the human race a ]*oke ? Was it
devised and patched together in a dull time when there was '
nothing important to do? Has it no respect for itself? ....
I think my respect for it is drooping, sinking — and my respect for
myself along with it. . . . There is but one restorative — Clothes!
respect-reviving, spirit-uplifting clothes ! heaven's kindliest gift to
man, his only protection against finding himself out: they de-
ceive him, they confer dignity upon him; without them he has
none. How charitable are clothes, how beneficent, how puissant,
how inestimably precious! Mine are able to expand a human
cipher into a globe-shadowing portent; they can command the
respect of the whole world — including my own, which is fading.
I will put them on.